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With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, people across the U.S. are currently considering their travel plans.
Traveling should be an enjoyable and fun experience, whether your plan is to relax on the beach or head for the hills for some hiking. Nevertheless, traveling can sometimes bring its own stresses, including things like delayed flights and unexpected weather.
Whatever your travel plans or experiences are, there are certain things that people who experience hearing loss should consider before setting off. Here are some tips to make sure that, wherever you are traveling, it goes smoothly!
How to alleviate some of the potential stresses at the airport
One of the biggest sources of frustration when traveling with hearing loss can be missing announcements about your flight at the airport. In a noisy and busy area, hearing can be made even more difficult, and missing a notice about something like a gate change can lead to a wearisome start to your vacation!
Proactive approach to traveling
Giving yourself more time at the airport, especially if you have a layover, can be a useful tactic to ensure that you don’t miss anything. Always inform airline representatives, including when checking in and at the gate, that you are hearing impaired. That way, they can let you know in person when boarding begins.
Be diligent about travel alerts
Regularly check the flight information screens for updates and be aware of your surroundings. If you’re sitting at a gate and start to notice people leaving, for instance, don’t be afraid to approach someone, or find a member of staff. If you can’t locate a flight attendant, other travelers are usually more than happy to help when they can. Certain airlines offer email or text alerts – by signing up for these beforehand, you will also be able to stay in the loop.
Assistive technologies at transport hubs
These tips can be used if you’re traveling by bus or by train as well. In addition, most airports and many transportation hubs provide assistive hearing technology such as hearing loops, which will be compatible with your hearing device so long as it is equipped with a telecoil.
When you’re away, preparation is key to a hassle-free holiday
If you plan to check into a hotel or other accommodation when you’re away, always alert the front desk that you experience hearing loss. This is extremely important in case of emergency. You may wish to contact the hotel in advance, as some hotels now provide visual alerts for things such as room service, ringing phones or emergency alarms.
Printing important information
It is a good idea to print off all of your confirmation information before you leave. This is especially true if you are traveling outside the U.S., where language barriers and less accessibility for people with hearing loss can pose particular problems.
Printing or purchasing things such as maps might seem like a thing of the past with modern technology, but if you’re headed somewhere rural, it’s probably not a bad plan!
Bringing certain assistive devices with you can be useful as well. Simple things like portable alarms can vibrate the bed or flash lights to wake you up in the morning, whereas more technologically advanced systems such as portable infrared systems allow you to link your hearing aid receiver to the hotel television.
Another consideration when you’re away is how to best protect and maintain your hearing instruments.
How to maintain your hearing aids when away from home
Generally, the things you do to maintain your hearing devices at home will be the same when you’re away. However, there are a few specific tips that you may want to consider.
Hot and humid destinations
If you’re going to a hot or humid location, one of the biggest tips is to bring a dehumidifier. This will allow you to dry your hearing devices at night when you’re asleep, which is so important if you’re in a humid environment to ensure optimum quality and prevent damage.
Extra batteries and keeping your hearing device with you when transiting
Always take spare batteries and tubing, as these won’t always be available, especially in rural areas or abroad. It’s a good idea to keep batteries in a few different pieces of luggage just in case something gets misplaced! On a similar note, it’s always prudent to keep your hearing aid equipment – and any other valuables – in your carry-on rather than checked baggage.
If you use rechargeable hearing aids, be sure to pack your charger! If you are traveling to a foreign country, remember to check their outlet requirements. Be sure to pick up an electrical adapter for different chargers before you go.
Enjoy your trip!
Traveling is such a great experience and you will have a fantastic time. Hearing loss should not discourage you from traveling – it just takes a bit of preparation! Enjoy the sun or the snow, the family or the new friends!
If you haven’t booked your trip yet, you might also be interested in looking at some of Starkey’s recommended hearing loss friendly vacation destinations. They range from European adventures to hearing loss friendly cruises!
For more information on traveling with hearing aids, check out this guide. They range from European adventures to hearing loss friendly cruises!
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